I think bobsleighing is cool to watch. I couldn’t drive the bobsleigh out of the sheer terror of flipping us over and down the banked twists of wickedness, but I could lean with the best of them. I have loved figure skating since my younger days watching Kristi Yamaguchi glide effortlessly through short and long programs. Pretending to alpine ski is fun on my Wii. Ski jumping is just magnificent. I know very few people who have not enacted the ski jump “pose” for fun. I understand curling as a theory, but find it still unshakably strange to watch.
The display of athletic prowess during the Winter Olympics is always highly impressive. Additionally, there’s ice hockey, speed skating, snowboarding… luging…biathlon (which sounds, er, extensive). Each specific sports get more exposure and gain more followers globally with each televised contest, which says a lot about societal (human?) propensities towards “the popular” and “the dramatic” of the moment.
There’s flair, finesse, and foppery. We dig it.
The athletics train for years for a singular competing event. Most Olympians undergo speed, strength, and agility drills for hours a day. There’s accuracy and control training. Overall cardiovascular regulation, endurance, and maintenance is perfected. Olympians need stamina; they need launch; they build all. Some of the fitness routines in preparation to compete are almost unbelievable.
Writer Elizabeth Quinn’s article for VeryWellFit.com gives an example: “Cross country skiing is arguably the most demanding endurance sport in the Winter Olympics. These athletes generally train twice a day, six days a week, throughout the year. Cross country ski racers have been known to have some of the highest Vo2 Max levels of any athletes.” (Quinn, 2017)
Meanwhile, I’m out of breath just reading that quote (and wondering what “Vo2 Max level” means).
When I researched the training time sessions and durations of most of the winter Olympic sports, and the great mental and physical toils the conditioning alone puts on a person, one prevailing thought came to my mind: “I’m an Olympian, too, you know.”
My sport of choice? Parenthood.
As a verb? Parenting.
The training sessions in parenthood are lengthy and vigorous. In fact, they are factually endless. The tournament tasks often mindlessly drone on and on repeatedly for days, weeks, months at a time. Activities related to contention involve the use of unforeseeable strengths of body, mind, and spirit, as well as mental toughness, perseverance, and a selflessness that are all unprecedented. There is no practice; every day is the “real thing,” the biggest competition that day, the time to prove if I’m “mom” enough.
In what sport would the patience be seen to read three books…twice…for each child, just because they asked and you promised? Where would one see someone catch the pouring vomit from a kid’s face in a restaurant? A parent endures finally getting into bed, only to painfully roll over onto a car and a Minion under their comforter…and they don’t get mad? The kid screams from her room at night…who goes to her rescue to spray the monsters away? Both kids are yelling in the grocery store…a timeless test of faith like no other. All, and more, are done repeatedly, on little sleep, after an eight-hour or 12-hour workday, in between classes at the college for so many, along the timeline of parent deaths and spousal divorces and demotions and financial troubles and foreclosures and break-ins and general lethargy. Parenthood is a “go,” an exhausting feat, incomparable in sportsmanship and professionalism. It’s for forever.
And the long-term effects? Tremendous.
My back will never again be the same from bending over the bathtub to clean two children daily. My kneecaps are dry, even after moisture application, from getting down to the kiddies’ levels to button jackets or retrieve lost toys under beds. My knees are often stiff from the torsion of picking up, picking up, picking up infinitely. My shoulders and arms are tired from double the lifts, double the air tosses, double the plane rides because Jrue saw Jai get them and wanted them, too, even if he is much taller. Energy levels spurt out on what looks like 4% battery. Mommy’s hair is frizzy, my socks don’t match, and my pants are wrinkled, but the kids want to take 82 “pretty” selfies with mommy’s phone. Smile, mommy.
I’m so sleepy.
None of this matters. I signed up for this. It’s true love.
I won’t be defeated. I’m an Olympian.
Watch me rock.
Quinn, Elizabeth. “Winter Olympic Sports Training.” VeryWellFit, Nov. 21, 2017, https://www.verywellfit.com/winter-olympic-sports-training-3120121. Accessed Mar. 1, 2018.